The Case for God

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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Sep 22, 2009 - Religion - 432 pages
23 Reviews
A nuanced exploration of the part that religion plays in human life, drawing on the insights of the past in order to build a faith that speaks to the needs of our dangerously polarized age.
 
Moving from the Paleolithic age to the present, Karen Armstrong details the great lengths to which humankind has gone in order to experience a sacred reality that it called by many names, such as God, Brahman, Nirvana, Allah, or Dao. Focusing especially on Christianity but including Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Chinese spiritualities, Armstrong examines the diminished impulse toward religion in our own time, when a significant number of people either want nothing to do with God or question the efficacy of faith. Why has God become unbelievable? Why is it that atheists and theists alike now think and speak about God in a way that veers so profoundly from the thinking of our ancestors?

Answering these questions with the same depth of knowledge and profound insight that have marked all her acclaimed books, Armstrong makes clear how the changing face of the world has necessarily changed the importance of religion at both the societal and the individual level.  Yet she cautions us that religion was never supposed to provide answers that lie within the competence of human reason; that, she says, is the role of logos. The task of religion is “to help us live creatively, peacefully, and even joyously with realities for which there are no easy explanations.” She emphasizes, too, that religion will not work automatically. It is, she says, a practical discipline: its insights are derived not from abstract speculation but from “dedicated intellectual endeavor” and a “compassionate lifestyle that enables us to break out of the prism of selfhood.”


From the Trade Paperback edition.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - juglicerr - LibraryThing

I liked much of Armstrong's A History of God, but then in the second half of the book, she became more and more personal and judgmental, finally subordinating history to plugging her religious ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - kaulsu - LibraryThing

I've given this book 3.5 stars, which I actually think is under-rating it, but I must pay attention to the fact that it took me 3.5 years to read it. By definition it would seem that I must have ... Read full review

Contents

Three Reason
49
five Silence
103
seven Science and Religion 161
160
twelve Death of God?
289
Epilogue
318
Acknowledgments
331
Glossary 309
369
Selected Bibliography
379
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About the author (2009)

Karen Armstrong is the author of numerous books on religion, including Fields of Blood, A History of God, The Battle for God, Holy War, Islam, Buddha, and Fields of Bloos, as well as a memoir, The Spiral Staircase. Her work has been translated into forty-five languages. In 2008 she was awarded the TED Prize and began working with TED on the Charter for Compassion, created online by the general public, crafted by leading thinkers in Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Confucianism. It was launched globally in the fall of 2009. Also in 2008, she was awarded the Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Medal. In 2013, she received the British Academy’s inaugural Nayef Al-Rodhan Prize for Transcultural Understanding.  

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